Thus, I don't think I spent a long time pondering what I wanted this blog to be about. I knew early on that its subject should be the relationship I share with Chris. As I've stated before, I hoped that by writing about Chris and me, I'd reach two audiences: 1). Gay male couples who are in long-term relationships, and who want an open window on the workings of another gay couple's relationship, and 2). Single gay men in despair of ever finding the right man to settle down and build a life with. In particular, I wanted the latter to see that long-term, gay relationships really do exist, and I wanted them to be inspired by what Chris and I share.
The book I read at the outset was right. While I've written numerous posts about Chris and me, and the dynamic between us, my blog turned into so much more over time. For example, I started writing it at a time when Chris and I knew we'd soon move from Victoria on Vancouver Island to somewhere on the Lower Mainland. That somewhere ended up being __________, some _____ kilometers outside of downtown Vancouver, where Chris works, and I wrote posts about the move and about our new home as we went through all of it. I had much to resolve in my mind about moving to a place I didn't want to go to, and my blog, as well as all the encouraging comments I received from my devoted and caring readers, played a large part in helping me to adjust to this significant change.
But, along the way--and much to my surprise--I discovered that my blog was a way for me to explore what it means to be gay, at least for me, based on my experience growing up gay and coming of age in the 1970s and '80s, and the resulting aftermath. Although I came out in the mid-1980s, and thought at the time that I'd overcome one of the greatest hurdles associated with being gay, I've found, through writing my blog, that, all these years later, I'm still not comfortable with being gay. I still have many issues related to being different as far as my sexual orientation is concerned and, specifically, to my masculine identity as it relates to falling into one of the big stereotypes of being gay--that of effeminacy.
Through my blog posts, I've taken me, and my readers, into corners of my mind I wasn't aware were there. I've tried to reconcile being somewhat effeminate and gay with being born a male and falling considerably short of the masculine ideal I've always aspired to, in part, so I wasn't so different from straight males and, in part, so I was able to safely hide behind the facade of my physical masculinity and be less easily identified as gay. I've discovered that, in our society, even in the twenty-first century, it's still, in some respects, easier to be gay as long as you don't look it or act it.
But I've learned also that times are apparently changing. Acceptance of some people's differences now, including being gay, is greater. Not only is Canada one of the most progressive nations in the world, legalizing gay marriage several years ago, but also, I'm told, there is a greater tolerance for gay youth in today's junior and senior high schools. As skeptical as I am that this is the case, I'm told that young gay males, even those with effeminate tendencies, are not teased and taunted to the degree I was well over a generation ago. So much the better if this is true. Then today's gay youth will grow up to be better adjusted gay men, more aware of their entitlement to all the things straight men and women avail themselves of and enjoy.
But what of the gay men well into middle age now, even if they've made peace with the parents who shunned them because they were different and misunderstood; even if they are no longer teased and taunted as they were in grade school; even if their workplaces recognize same sex couples and extend same sex benefits; even if they are happy and fulfilled in long-term, committed relationships? Despite all of these improvements in the professional, social, and personal living conditions of today's gay man, many of us of a certain age still deal with how we feel about ourselves after the damage was done, so to speak.
Even if we've gone through years and years of therapy and analysis, in an effort to move beyond many of our self-esteem issues once and for all, I've learned that the insecure, vulnerable, and emotionally injured little boy inside is never too far from the surface. From time to time, adult situations still elicit some of the feelings that were so prevalent while growing up different, in a world that didn't value different, and, in fact, in the case of being gay, deplored it.
Whether the adult situations I speak of were in intense team building games at work--where the submissive and the weak were left behind and made to feel useless--or were in adult friendships--where one adult teased the other in ways that were presumed to be funny but which came to feel belittling and cruel--the fact remains that being gay, and being teased, ridiculed, and taunted for it, stays with the adult gay man forever. And, no matter how well adjusted you think you are now, it's unlikely that you'll ever forget what you've been through or cease being affected by it in some way.
All of this is a long-winded way of saying that, now that I've returned to blog writing following two weeks of vacation, I believe there is still much ahead of me to write about regarding what it's like to be gay in 2009 and beyond. My dear readers may discover that I repeat some of the same themes over and over, and they may grow tired of what I have to say, but I know from what I've written so far that approaching an issue from different directions often provides additional clarity and understanding. If nothing else, the work that I do in my blog is an ongoing attempt to get to the bottom of who I am as a gay man, to understand why I can't seem to let go of all the hurt from the past, and to make sense of why I feel today the way I do about myself.
So I ask of my devoted and patient readers to allow me to indulge myself. I've never had such an incredible forum for exploring some of my deepest thoughts and feelings. I've never had such an incredible opportunity to come to terms with who I am as a gay man at fifty years of age. And I've never had such an incredible chance to accumulate so much material on the same subject that I may be able to pull together and present in another form that could help other people in the same or a similar situation.
Whether what we face on a daily basis is the reality of being gay, or being overweight, or being female, or being Islamic, or being Asian, or being whatever, I know for a fact that the source of discrimination may be different, but the resulting feelings are the same. My guess is that, no matter in what ways you, my dear readers, may be different--and we are all different in some way--you can relate to me as I can relate to you--if we remain open to understanding what each of us went through, how it made us feel, and what we did to work through it.
In other words, my journey to self knowledge and, ultimately, to self acceptance is not that different from yours. My hope is that you will stick with me through my journey, and that, in the process, you'll gain a better understanding of yourself through the ways in which I scrutinize my own life and try to make sense out of it.